The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Often assigned as required reading for Asian studies classes or literature class, this novel by Pearl S. Buck published in 1931 offers a raw view of China during the reign of the last Emperor. The story follows a simple farmer and his wife as they struggle with the changes of the twentieth century and how to live in a world that is becoming vastly different from what they have always known. This story also provides an interesting look at the values that drove the Chinese during this time in history.
Wild Swans Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
Censored in the Chinese mainland (due to its frank discussion of the Cultural Revolution), this readable and moving autobiography follows three generations of women living in China through the Cultural Revolution. A great look at the true effects of 20th century Chinese history on one family from grandmother, mother, to the author herself. First published in 1991, the book has been translated into 30 languages and is often categorized as a “must read” for those who want an autobiographical glimpse into how this era has affected everyday Chinese mentality and thinking.
Rivertown: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler
Peter Hessler was the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker and a contributor to National Geographic. One of his best-known works is the book Rivertown, which chronicles his often humorous and widely entertaining experience as a 2-year Peace Corps volunteer in the small town of Fuling on the Yangtze river. Along with fellow teacher Adam Meier, the two foreigners are an extremely rare sight in this part of the country and their experience socially, culturally, and personally during their stay in Fuling captures the attitudes towards foreigners as well as the political and historical climate of the time.
Mr. China by Tim Clissold
A classic “business primer” set in the early 1990’s and written with humor for those…